Reader story: decade of depression and slavery, part-2

by phdscam

Editor’s note: the academic cesspool needs to be talked about more and steer new wanna-be grad students and post-docs away from the scam. Please speak up and share your story; good or bad, and we will post it anonymously. Here we post part-2 of the reader’s story “decade of depression and slavery”.

Let me continue with my writing. Several months ago I came across a blog post about how prospective graduate students should select their future advisor/PI. The post had some reasonable criteria and some “common sense” tips. However, something didn’t add up. Everything seemed right and at the same time everything was wrong with that blog post. It took me some time to understand what was that hidden flaw. The reason is that it is a “zero-sum” game. You might have all reasonable and sensible criteria to select your PI. But the truth is that there is only a tiny fraction of professors that might be considered to be “marginally good PIs”. Each and every year new students who decided to pursue advanced degrees are to select their supervisors. Chances are that a large fraction of them will be completely ruined by their PIs. Of course, one might argue that there are decent people among professors. Well, one can find good people among prison inmates and serial offenders. I am sure there were innocent people among those who had been sentenced to death penalty, as even judicial system has its flaws! I can say that there might be roughly 20% of decent PI among any faculty and the reader can certainly argue about this number. Even I believe that 20% is a way too generous claim. By decent I mean PIs that view their “serfs” as human beings and not as mere machines for producing data.

So what about those students that are unable to land a lab of a half-decent PI ? Why do they deserve to be ruined? I believe that there are many more decent students than there are half-decent PIs, just because of the numbers. So yes, those rules of selecting a good PI were useful. As useful as rules of winning a poker game while playing with a professional conman. No rules of selecting “a good PI” will help you, because the numbers are simply against you. Professors need a constant supply of cheap labor, a student needs training for the employment. Entirely different goals here!!!

Again and again I think that authors of this blog did not know that they would nail it, when they selected a name of a “PHD SCAM”. I have been extremely unhappy with my PhD. Reasons? Bad project, unsupportive committee, arrogant, unsupportive and incompetent PI, no publication came out from all these years of slave labor. Under current ultra-competitive conditions “no publications” means that your PhD-theses, your nerve-wrecking defence and PhD-degree and years of ultra-hard labor are useless for anything and you are straight out of the game! It means the death-sentence for all your career-aspirations!

I cursed and verbally abused myself almost every day because of wrong choice that I had made. However, after years I understood that what happened to me was a “norm” rather than exception. See, I believed that most of PIs are reasonable and decent people and that was just me happen to be in a wrong place at a wrong time. I could not be any further from the truth! I could not be possibly more fucking wrong in my assumptions! All this academia is not even a fucking Scam. It is an Organized Crime and people that are running the show know very well what they are doing!

Part 3 coming soon.